The Taliban are clearly enjoying the fruits of their labor after routing out the Afghan military and commandeering the country’s capital in Kabul.
Two reports from Reuters indicate that many Taliban fighters have swapped their AK-47s for American-made M4s and M16s while the group’s leadership has begun confiscating weapons from civilians in the city.
“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” a Taliban leader told Reuters.
The Associated Press reported today that billions of dollars of U.S.-made military equipment has fallen into the hands of the Taliban since the terrorist group began its assault. The haul included ammunition, aircraft, and small arms, including M4s and M16s.
Images from Afghanistan show some Taliban fighters toting the fully automatic versions of the AR-15 rifle. While it’s fair to debate the tactical advantage that these rifles will provide over their Russian counterparts, the optics are not good for the United States.
“The image of U.S.-made weapons in the hands of the Taliban as it sweeps aside the Afghan National Army—funded with billions of dollars from the U.S. government over the past two decades—is a propaganda coup for the militants,” Reuters reports.
An anonymous U.S. Marines officer also told the outlet that the Taliban’s Russian allies won’t have any trouble supplying them with the ammunition necessary to feed their new weapons.
“The Russians crank out millions of rounds of AR 5.56 NATO each year for the U.S. market under the brand names of Tula, Wolf, and Red Army just to name a few,” he said. “I suspect the Taliban’s allies will have no trouble supplying parts for just about any infantry system.”
WATCH: Taliban bring an anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) to arrest alleged looters on the streets of Kabul. pic.twitter.com/ku9kM2clo8— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) August 17, 2021
🚨Este martes, el corresponsal de la cadena árabe Al Jazeera, Hameed Mohammad Shah, captó en en #Kabul un vídeo de lo que sería la “primera protesta de mujeres” bajo el nuevo régimen #Taliban. pic.twitter.com/bQglOu7J83— Diario de México (@DDMexico) August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration loses fully automatic American-made rifles to the Taliban, it is actively working to ban Americans from owning the semi-automatic version of those rifles. President Biden’s gun control plan would ban the manufacture and sale of “assault weapons,” which encompass a variety of rifles, including the AR-15.
Those who already own these firearms would be required to register them with the federal government under the National Firearms Act process. This policy has also been supported by Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (AFT), David Chipman.
Fully automatic machine guns like those captured by the Taliban have been heavily restricted for American civilian ownership since 1986.
The Taliban’s gun confiscation scheme is less sophisticated than that of the U.S. government, but the end goal is the same: disarm the civilian population.